The protesting workers, who claimed they were headed to Jakarta for work, also recorded a 30-second video, which went viral on social media.
In the video, the workers could be seen getting off the shuttle bus they were traveling in, clad in uniforms and yelling that they were laborers headed for work, and not participating in the homecoming exodus, and demanding passage through the gate.
“We are workers, we are going for working. This is Cikarang,” a voice can be heard shouting in the video.
Jakarta Police traffic director senior commissioner Sambodo Purnomo Yogo confirmed the incident, saying the workers protested after they were not allowed to pass through the West Cikarang toll gate.
“The workers protested when their bus could not pass the West Cikarang toll gate from Cikampek,” Yogo said.
The toll gate was shuttered as part of the 2021 homecoming exodus restrictions aimed at curbing vehicular flow, he informed.
“The West Cikarang toll gate was closed to prevent (homebound travelers from) crossing, with the vehicle turned back,” he explained.
Yogo assured that the flow of vehicles on the road has returned to normal.
“At this moment, the condition is back to normal and the traffic is running smoothly,” he said.
The toll road is among the checkpoints where vehicular access has been limited under the “Ketupat” operations this year, with hundreds of vehicles found breaking exodus restrictions asked to turn back. As of 6 a.m. on the first day of the homecoming ban, police had instructed 725 vehicles to return to their points of origin.
Of the total vehicles, 317 were turned back from the West Cikarang toll road, and comprised 233 private cars and 48 public transportation. Meanwhile, 408 vehicles were turned back from the Cikupa toll gate, and comprised 359 private cars and 49 public transportation.
Hundreds of drivers and bikers were prevented from traveling on arterial paths during the restriction operation, said police.
Bekasi Police traffic unit chief adjunct senior commissioner Ojo Ruslani said that hundreds of vehicles found violating the homecoming exodus ban were turned back and many more vehicles were expected to be asked to do so.
“For about one hour, we have got hundreds of motorbikes and private cars, indicated going for the homecoming exodus, to turn back,” he revealed.
He said that one hour after the restrictions came into force, around 200 motorbikes, 52 private cars, and five travel cars were turned back. Police officers also issued tickets to travel cars and confiscated vehicles caught sneaking homebound passengers past the authorities. (INE)
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EDITED BY INE